The highest tier 5-star heroes are hard to come by in Brown Dust, but when you do happen to recruit one, you probably want to throw everything you have at it to make it better. Luckily, the upgrade system is fairly complex, so the best mercenaries on your team will eat up a giant bulk of resources before they become the best they can be.
To make sure that you don’t waste all this time, diamonds, and gold, check out our guide to the heroes in Brown Dust that are worth the investment. Once you have a good mercenary to work with, follow the steps below to unlock their full potential.
Basic EXP and Leveling
The most straightforward way to improve a hero (and a prerequisite for several other upgrades) is to level them up with EXP. We’ve covered the basics of leveling mercenaries in a different guide, so we’ll only make a few additions here.
You can gather EXP for your heroes by letting them run a high level campaign stage on repeat, but this can be very expensive if you’re low on Horseshoes and need to buy some with diamonds. Alternatively, your heroes level up fastest when they eat other units. The higher the number of stars and the level on the sacrificed unit, the more EXP they give when consumed.
You should only ever use 1- or 2-star units for this purpose, but it’s a good idea to fatten them up a bit before the feast – so to speak. A 1-star grunt, for instance, will provide only 500 EXP if consumed on level 1, but up to 950 EXP if maxed out. It’s definitely not worth feeding the food, but if you have the time to level them the good old-fashioned way, you can get more out of each grunt. Stage 25-5 of the campaign, due to the nature of the mobs, can be cleared using just 2 good heroes and 7 fodders.
An even faster way to level your favorite mercenaries is to feed them Slimes, which come in various ranks and are already maxed out on the EXP they provide when they join your cause. These can be more difficult to come by, however, so make sure you take a look at our BlueStacks guide to farming in Brown Dust when you need them in massive numbers.
Unlocking New Skills
All mercenaries can be skilled-up nine times, which includes both new abilities and the improvement of existing ones. This is one of the most powerful upgrades you can give most heroes (aside from awakening), but it’s also one of the most expensive.
Upgrading skills requires you to use either a copy of the hero or a skill book that is ranked as high as the hero’s original number of stars. The resources are fairly easy to obtain for 3-star heroes, but they can be a pain in the backside for the best heroes in the game. Think about it. You must have been ecstatic to draw the 5-star hero you wanted. But now you have to do it another 9 times to fully upgrade their skills. The chances are slim, to say the least.
Far more reliable resources to upgrade mercenaries’ skills are skill books, but again, the process is less than simple for high-end units. 5-Star skill books are extremely rare and, although they can be obtained from events, with honor points, and with dust from Mystic Island, they always come at an exorbitant price.
Rank-Ups for Additional Stars
Once a hero is upgraded to its maximum level, you can choose to rank it up and give it an additional star. This improves their stats significantly and unlocks the possibility to awaken them, so it’s definitely something you should do at least once for your best mercenaries.
Of course, rank-ups are more costly the higher the rank in question. The way it works is that you have to feed a hero a number of X other units with rank X, where X is the current rank of the hero you’re trying to upgrade. For example, if we want to rank up the basic 3-star Arines, we need 3 rank 3 heroes to get the job done. Pretty simple. To rank up the 5-star Antonio, on the other hand, we need to sacrifice 5 other rank 5 mercenaries. Downright painful.
Rank-up stars of the appropriate rank can be used in place of mercenaries, but, as you can imagine, 5-star rank-up stars (say “treble trouble” 3 times real fast!) are a pain to come by. One useful thing to know about these utility units is that when you get them, they come with max level, so, for example, you can turn a 3-star rank-up star into a 4-star right away, without having to waste a bunch of slimes in the process. That’s why you should always rank-up these stars once before using them and never consume other max-level stars in the process.
After a hero has been ranked up once, it’s time to awaken them. This boosts their stats even further, unlocks their special, awakened ability, and allows you to rank them up additional times. For most heroes, awakening is the most powerful upgrade you can perform.
Thankfully, the cost is not as brutal as with ranking up. Awakening crystals come in Warrior, Defender, and Magician varieties for specific heroes, while Supporter heroes use all three. These materials can also be Low, Medium, or High in quality, and each hero will require a combination of the latter to be awakened. Arines, for example, uses only Low quality materials (85 of each), while Antonio eats up 600 Medium and 500 High defender awakening crystals.
Equipping Runes and Soul Gear
Finally, a hero’s stats can be boosted with runes and soul gear, two separate types of equipment. Each mercenary can equip 2 runes and the latter appear in ranks from 1 to 5, with quality ranging from common to rare, epic, and legendary for each rank. Runes can be enhanced up to 9 times, with significant boosts after 3, 6, and 9 upgrades. Each of these three milestones are graded from C through B, A, and S for potency.
The BiS runes for any mercenary are 5-star legendary runes with triple S upgrades that fit the hero’s predominant stat for maximum impact. Most defenders and supporters prefer Vital or Shield runes (for HP and DEF, respectively), while warriors and magicians are best equipped with Assault, Fatal, or Rage runes (ATK, Crit rating, Crit damage), with a few exceptions (such as Marron, for instance, who is more of a disabling support). Enhancing runes seems simple enough, but beware. Upgrade attempts can fail and sometimes do so more than 20 times in a row, which can sum up to a lot of wasted gold.
A mercenary can also equip 3 pieces of soul gear specifically tailored for them. You can generate random items at the soul gear shop for 40,000 gold a pop, but you cannot specify which hero you’d like the items for. As such, you’ll likely spend a small fortune before you can fully equip a mercenary with the right items, which you can then upgrade by sacrificing other, useless pieces of soul gear.
So there you have it – all the ways you can upgrade your favorite heroes in Brown Dust, all very, very expensive! Sure, it will be a while before you can max out your Hell or your Lucius, but at least you now know exactly how to go about it and, if you’ve followed our guide to farming, precisely where to get all the necessary resources. Next up – dominating other teams in the PvP arena.